War in Israel/Palestine: HEKS/EPER calls for immediate ceasefire and increases its emergency aid
One month after the start of the latest escalation of violence in Israel/Palestine, the situation for the civilian population, particularly in the Gaza Strip, is becoming increasingly alarming. The ongoing bombing, the lack of safe escape routes and the lack of humanitarian access are leading to a severe humanitarian catastrophe for the affected population. HEKS/EPER is calling for an immediate ceasefire to allow access for urgently needed humanitarian aid and increases its emergency aid to 1 million Swiss francs. At the same time, HEKS/EPER is calling on all parties to the conflict to comply with international humanitarian law.
The humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, which is almost completely cut off from the outside world, is becoming increasingly alarming. Around 1.5 million people have had to escape their homes and seek refuge inside the Gaza Strip. The sanitary conditions in the emergency shelters are extremely precarious and access to clean water is often not guaranteed, meaning that people are increasingly suffering from respiratory infections, skin diseases and diarrhea. This situation is particularly unacceptable for vulnerable people such as the elderly and the sick. Several tens of thousands of buildings and important infrastructure facilities have already been destroyed or damaged. These include schools, bakeries and water supply. More than a third of the hospitals have had to close and access to water, food, electricity, fuel, medicine and other essential goods is becoming increasingly difficult. Internet and telephone connections are repeatedly interrupted, meaning that residents are not able to call emergency services or communicate the crisis that they are experiencing.
Thanks to the close cooperation with its long-standing, reliable Palestinian and Israeli partner organizations as well as with other international aid organizations working in the war zone, HEKS/EPER could launch first emergency aid measures shortly after the outbreak of hostilities.
Internally displaced people in the Gaza Strip are currently being supported by our local partner organizations and in cooperation with other international organizations within the frame of current possibilities. People who have fled to the south are receiving food parcels or cash to provide them with basic needs. Water tanks are being installed in emergency shelters and psycho-social counselling and recreational activities are being offered for children.